ALBANY — The list of states from which travelers to New York face 14-day quarantines grew to 16 on Tuesday as Governor Andrew M. Cuomo blamed the federal government for an uptick in coronavirus infections in several regions of the nation.
The updated quarantine list now covers people coming to New York from California, the nation’s most populous state, as well as Tennessee, Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa and Idaho.
The order continues to apply to those entering New York from Texas, Utah, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Cuomo, a Democrat, blamed what he called flawed management of the pandemic by President Donald Trump’s administration.
“If you don’t admit you have a problem, you’re not going to come up with a solution,” he told the cable news station NY1.
Although New York and neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut are requiring visitors from states with rising infections to go into quarantine at home or at hotel rooms, the impact of those measures will largely hinge on whether those travelers comply.
“Because it’s a voluntary effort, we haven’t seen any issues or major problems,” Helen Tederous of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority told CNHI.
As Cuomo jabbed the federal response to the growing number of infections, Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said his request to the governor on March 26 for 14-day quarantine on people traveling from what was then a “hot zone” of infections in the downstate region never got a response. On that same day, there were more than 5,000 new infections reported in the metropolitan New York City region, McLaughlin said.
“By not acting earlier in this crisis, he helped it spread across the nation,” McLaughlin said.
Cuomo’s involvement in a multi-state quarantine order targeting travelers, including New Yorkers, coming from states with higher infections represents an evolution in his approach to the pandemic.
In March, Cuomo objected when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged that a shelter-in-place order be imposed on the nation’s largest city.
“I have no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city,” Cuomo said then.
On Tuesday, Cuomo contended his administration has been effective in confronting the virus, as eight new deaths were added to the toll of more than 24,000 over four months.
“In New York we did the impossible,” Cuomo said. “We went from the worst infection rate to the best infection rate. Our numbers are arguably the best in the United States of America right now.”
Along with the pandemic and a fiscal crisis, New York in recent weeks has been dealing with protests against the alleged use of excessive force by police officers against Black people.
A Siena College poll released Tuesday found 60% of New Yorkers signaled they support the demonstrations, though the survey found differences based on racial and demographic differences on that and related issues. A majority of Republicans oppose the demonstrations, while 88% of Black respondents support the protests, Siena reported.
A proposal to defund police agencies was opposed by 60% of those who answered the survey, though Black New Yorkers backed the suggestion, 57% to 27%, while Hispanics were divided, with 41% in favor and 50% opposed.
On the legislative front, Cuomo signed a measure that blocks the evictions of tenants during the health crisis if they are experiencing a financial hardship due to the pandemic.
In approving the measure, Cuomo said it only applies during the period when businesses are required to be closed or when non-essential gatherings are required to be postponed or canceled. In addition, landlords can still get monetary judgments for rent that has not been paid during the period covered by emergency order.
Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.